Tom Bedford

Tom currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Bread of Life Church in Fresno California. After pastoring in the Midwest for many years, he moved back to his home town of Fresno in 2011 to work with Bread of Life Church and to see the expansion of the Kingdom of God in the region. He has been involved in serving local churches as a prophetic voice both in the United States and various nations for over twenty years. Tom also serves alongside his friends and co-laborers in the United States helping to lead the C2C family of churches. He and his wife Andrea also work with the Salt and Light family of churches at large. Through his involvement with the wider Body of Christ, he travels frequently to serve leaders and equip the saints.

austic.benBenjamin Austic

Ben is Associate Pastor of Family Ministries at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Kirksville, Missouri. He is also a worship leader and songwriter, and graduated from Midwestern Baptist College with a degree in Worship Arts, and we’re glad to have him joining our worship team at Awaken. (Some of you may recognize his name from the annual 5in5 Challenge.) You can hear more from Ben on his Facebook page or website.


Darin Rihanek

Darin makes sure the music and message can always be heard. He serves as Worship Pastor for Heartland Community Church, and is part of the faculty at Heartland Christian College. Darin holds a BS in Business Administration from Liberty University, and a Master of Arts in Religion – Worship Studies degree from Liberty Theological Seminary. He is supported by a house full of women: his wife and 5 daughters. *Note: Darin would never tell you this, but he also possesses mad kickball skills.


pingelJeremy & Ruth Pingel

Jeremy is an elder in Life Church of Kirksville, Missouri, and we’re pleased to have him as an instructor for one of HCC’s Monday night classes. He and his wife, Ruth, have two daughters and two sons who keep them on their toes! Together Jeremy and Ruth also lead the youth group, Ascent. As the name of the group suggests, their heart is to see a generation arise like Psalm 24 describes, that ascend the hill of the Lord with clean hands and pure hearts.

Growing up as the oldest daughter of two worship leaders, music and worship have always been major parts of Ruth’s life. Her involvement in worship teams began when she was a teenager, and she has been the worship leader at Life Church in Kirksville for several years.  


Martha Palmer

Martha is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University with a Masters in Education in curriculum development and design. She is passionate to see dynamic teachers raised up who will serve the coming generations. And we mean DYNAMIC — Martha is the queen of “forced fun” and creative learning. As the HCC Academic Dean, she frequently pushes her staff and students to get outside of the box when it comes to teaching and learning.


Molly Nickerson

Molly  is a graduate of Northeast Missouri Bible College (now HCC) where she works and serves as a librarian and worship leader. She is currently pursuing a master’s in Library and Information Science. Molly and her husband, Jared (yes, that’s her drummer-husband in the background of her bio pic), are passionate about seeing young men and women raised up to worship God with their whole lives in whatever circumstance, vocation, and location God calls them to. They keep busy raising three of their own young men who keep Molly entertained with their boyhood wit and wisdom.

williamsIMG_4993Shabaka Williams

Shabaka is a passionate preacher and ardent follower of Jesus Christ. He is graced and anointed to minister with a prophetic edge and enjoys edifying the Body of Christ through worship and the Word at Heartland Community Church and abroad. For more than a decade, Shabaka has labored in service to young people and continues to serve presently as Head of School at Heartland Christian Academy.  He and his wife Nitasha reside in Northeast Missouri with their five young children.


Tom Dombrowski

“Be ready in season and out to give an account of the wonders God has done in your life!” Tom says he came to Heartland 12 years ago a mess, but in that time he’s graduated the Men’s Recovery Program and Heartland Christian College. He now serves as a preacher at Heartland Community Church, works for Sharpe Holdings and at the Recovery Center. He’s got two amazing little boys and the most beautiful wife in the world. You’d never know it by looking at him, but he’s never had the opportunity to play any professional sport (at least not yet 😊).